A Cilia-inspired Closed-loop Sensor-actuator Array
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Cilia are finger-like cell-surface organelles that are used by certain varieties of aquatic unicellular organisms for motility, sensing and object manipulation. Initiated by internal generators and external mechanical and chemical stimuli, coordinated undulations of cilia lead to the motion of a fluid surrounding the organism. This motion transports micro-particles towards an oral cavity and provides motile force. Inspired by the emergent properties of cilia possessed by the pond organism P. caudatum, we propose a novel smart surface with closed-loop control using sensor-actuators pairings that can manipulate objects. Each vibrating motor actuator is controlled by a localised microcontroller which utilises proximity sensor information to initiate actuation. The circuit boards are designed to be plug-and-play and are infinitely up-scalable and reconfigurable. The smart surface is capable of moving objects at a speed of 7.2 millimetres per second in forward or reverse direction. Further development of this platform will include more anatomically similar biomimetic cilia and control.
Keywordsbioinspiration artificial cilia object manipulation sorting platforms
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This work was supported by the Leverhulme Trust research project “Artificial P. caudatum: intelligent distributed sensing and manipulation by ciliates” (Number RPG-2013-345).
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